William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire
William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, styled Lord Cavendish before 1729 and Marquess of Hartington between 1729 and 1755, was a British Whig statesman and nobleman, nominal Prime Minister of Great Britain. He was the first son of William Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Devonshire and his wife, the former Catherine Hoskins, he was elected MP for Derbyshire in 1741 and 1747. Devonshire was a supporter of Sir Robert Walpole and, after Walpole's fall from power, of the Pelhams. Henry Pelham wrote to Devonshire's father that he was "our mainstay among the young ones, of themselves liable to wander". Horace Walpole described him as "a favourite by descent of the Old Whigs" and as "errant bigot to the Pelham faction as Jacques Clément was to the Jesuits", he had been offered the post of governor to the Prince of Wales but he declined. Pelham appointed him Master of the Horse, a post he held until 1755 and which necessitated his leaving the House of Commons for the House of Lords by writ of acceleration as Baron Cavendish and joining the Privy Council.
Devonshire supported the Duke of Newcastle after Henry Pelham's death in 1754 and was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland from 2 April 1755 until 3 January 1757 in Newcastle's administration. In April 1755 Devonshire was one of the Lords Justices of the realm upon the King's absence in Hanover. Devonshire succeeded his father as Duke of Devonshire in December 1755 after his death; the Seven Years' War was going badly for Britain under the leadership of the Duke of Newcastle and when he resigned in October 1756, George II asked Devonshire to form an administration. Devonshire accepted on the condition that his tenure would last only until the end of the parliamentary session. Devonshire believed his duty to the King required an administration capable of prosecuting the war successfully. Devonshire was given the Garter and appointed First Lord of the Treasury in November 1756, he served as First Lord until May 1757 in an administration run by William Pitt. Devonshire's administration secured increased money for the war, troops were sent to America and a Militia Act was passed.
The administration was brought down for a variety of reasons including the opposition of George II and the alleged mishandling of the trial and execution of Admiral John Byng. It was replaced by the Pitt–Newcastle ministry headed by the Duke of Newcastle and including Pitt, Henry Fox and the Duke of Bedford; this government steered Britain through most of the Seven Years' War leading the country to ultimate victory. Devonshire was Lord Chamberlain in Newcastle's government and his relations with him were close. George II died in October 1760 and was succeeded by his grandson George III, suspicious of Devonshire and Newcastle; when Newcastle resigned in May 1762 Devonshire said that he would attend Lord Bute's Councils. When in October George III requested that he attend a Cabinet meeting on peace terms, Devonshire declined, claiming he had inadequate knowledge of the subject. On 28 October, travelling from Kew to London, the King overtook Devonshire and Newcastle's coach in the belief that the two dukes were plotting and that Devonshire was coming to tender his resignation.
He had come to give his leave to the King. When Devonshire arrived, George III refused to see him, as he wrote: "I ordered the page to tell him I would not see him, on which he bid him ask me with whom he should leave his wand... I said he would receive my orders... On the Duke of Devonshire's going away he said to the page, God bless you, it will be long before you see me here again At a meeting of the Privy Council four days the King struck out Devonshire's name from the list of Privy Councillors. In the opinion of one of his biographers, John Brooke, "Few things in King George III's long life show him in so poor a light". Devonshire resigned his Lord Lieutenancy of Derbyshire in solidarity with Newcastle and Rockingham when they were dismissed from their Lord Lieutenancies. For a long time he had a weak constitution and he grew more ill during these years, he died in the Austrian Netherlands where he had gone to take the waters at Spa. His death was a large political loss to his allies, the Whig magnates such as the Duke of Newcastle.
Dying at the age of 44 years and 147 days, he remains. Devonshire was buried at Derby Cathedral, he married Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Boyle, 6th Baroness Clifford, the daughter and heiress of Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington of the first creation, a famous architect and art collector. Through her, the Devonshires inherited Burlington House in London; the Duke employed Capability Brown to landscape the garden and park at Chatsworth House, his main residence. He hired James Paine to design the new stable block; the Duke had four children: William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire Lady Dorothy Cavendish. Married William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, who became Prime Minister. Through her, the 4th Duke of Devonshire is the great-great-great-great grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II. Lord Richard Cavendish George Augustus Henry Cavendish, created 1st Earl of Burlington of the second creation. Lord Burlington's grandson, the 2nd Earl of Burlington, would inherit the Devonshire dukedom as 7th Duke of Devonshire.
Horace Walpole described Devonshire as possessing "an impatience to do everything, a fear to do anything, he was alway
Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke
Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke was an English Civil War Roundhead General. Greville was the cousin and adopted son of Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, thus became the second Lord Brooke, owner of Warwick Castle, he was born in 1607, entered parliament for Warwick in 1628. He attended parliament and took part in some debates, but an investigation took place into his election for Warwick, it was voided on 31 May 1628. Before a by-election could take place, Greville's adopted father died, on 30 September 1628, Robert succeeded to the peerage that year, thereafter was able to sit in the House of Lords, he was involved in the foundation of Saybrooke in Connecticut. Greville was imprisoned by Charles I at York in 1639 for refusing to take the oath to fight for the king, soon became an active member of the parliamentary party. During the Civil War, he commanded Parliament forces in Warwickshire and Staffordshire and was looked on by many as the Earl of Essex's eventual successor. In 1642 he gained the victory of Kineton.
He took Stratford-upon-Avon in February, 1643 and was killed shortly afterwards besieging Lichfield Cathedral on 2 March. Greville was shot by a sniper and many consider him to be the first recorded victim of sniper fire. Brooke was eulogized as a friend of toleration by John Milton, he wrote on philosophical and current political topics. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature said of Greville,: He was an ardent puritan, and, in 1641, wrote A Discourse opening the nature of that Episcopacie, exercised in England, aimed at the political power of the bishops. In the same year was published his philosophical work The Nature of Truth. In this work, he refuses to distinguish between theology. "What is true philosophy but divinity?" he asks, "and if it be not true, it is not philosophy." Greville married soon after he came of age Catharine, daughter of Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford. With whom he had five sons; the eldest, succeeded to the title, but dying unmarried was succeeded by his brother Robert, who dying without male issue the title devolved upon his younger brother Fulke.
List of owners of Warwick Castle "Greville, Robert". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge. "Chapter XII. Hobbes and Contemporary Philosophy: Robert Greville, lord Brooke"; the Cambridge History of English and American Literature. Vol VII. Cavalier and Puritan. 1907–1921. Lundy, Darryl. "Robert Greville, 2nd Baron Brooke of Beauchamps Court". The Peerage website. P. 5781 § 57807
A sinecure is an office – carrying a salary or otherwise generating income – that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. The term originated in the medieval church, where it signified a post without any responsibility for the "cure of souls", the regular liturgical and pastoral functions of a cleric, but came to be applied to any post, secular or ecclesiastical, that involved little or no actual work. Sinecures have provided a potent tool for governments or monarchs to distribute patronage, while recipients are able to store up titles and easy salaries. A sinecure is not a figurehead, which requires active participation in government, albeit with a lack of power. A sinecure can be given to an individual whose primary job is in another office, but requires a sinecure title to perform that job. For example, the Government House Leader in Canada is given a sinecure ministry position so that he or she may become a member of the Cabinet. Similar examples are the Lord Privy Seal and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the British cabinet.
Other sinecures operate as legal fictions, such as the British office of Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds, used as a legal excuse for resigning from Parliament. Sinecure, properly a term of ecclesiastical law for a benefice without the cure of souls, arose in the English Church when the rector had no cure of souls nor resided in the parish, the work of the incumbent being performed by a vicar; such sinecure rectories were expressly granted by the patron. They were abolished by parliament under the Ecclesiastical Commissioners Act of 1840. Other ecclesiastical sinecures were certain cathedral dignities to which no spiritual functions attached or incumbencies where by reason of depopulation and the like, the parishioners disappeared or the parish church was allowed to decay; such cases ceased to exist. The term is used of any office or place to which salary emoluments or dignity, but no duties are attached; the British civil service and the royal household, for example, were loaded with innumerable offices which, by lapse of time, had become sinecures and were only kept as the reward of political services or to secure voting power in parliament.
They were prevalent in the 18th century, but were abolished by statutes during that and the following centuries. Below is a list of extant sinecures by country. Lord President of the Council Lord Privy Seal First Secretary of State Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Minister without portfolio Paymaster General Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury – held by the Chief Whip in the House of Commons Treasurer of the Household – held by the Deputy Chief Whip in the Commons Comptroller of the Household – held by a senior Commons Whip Vice-Chamberlain of the Household – held by a senior Commons Whip Lords of the Treasury – held by the several junior Commons Whips Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms – held by the Chief Whip in the House of Lords Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard – held by the Deputy Chief Whip in the Lords Lords in Waiting – held by the several junior Lords Whips Lord Clerk Register Lord Steward of the Household Master of the Horse Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports Constable of the Tower of London Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle Deputy Prime Minister of Canada President of the Privy Council Registrar-General Receiver-General Attorney-General Vice-President of the Executive Council Board member Emeritus, academia Minister without portfolio No-show job Quango Safe seatChurch: Abbé Benefice Simony Titular bishop This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed..
"Sinecure". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press. Lord Mackay of Clashfern Halsbury's Laws of England, 4th ed. Vol.14, "Ecclesiastical Law", Smith, W.. A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities: Being a Continuation of the'Dictionary of the Bible'. J. B. Burr Pub. Co. pp. "Sinecure". Definition on Enciclopedia Treccani Maurilio Guasco, Storia del clero, Bari:Laterza, p. 20
Marylebone Cricket Club
Marylebone Cricket Club is a cricket club founded in 1787 and based since 1814 at Lord's cricket ground, which it owns, in St John's Wood, England. The club was the governing body of cricket in England and Wales and, as the sport's legislator, held considerable global influence. In 1788, the MCC took responsibility for the Laws of Cricket. Although changes to the Laws are now determined by the International Cricket Council, the copyright is still owned by MCC. For much of the 20th century, commencing with the 1903–04 tour of Australia and ending with the 1976–77 tour of India, MCC organised international tours in which the England cricket team played Test matches. On these tours, the England team was called MCC in non-international matches. In 1993, its administrative and governance functions were transferred to the ICC and the Test and County Cricket Board; the club's own teams are ad hoc because they have never taken part in any formal competition. MCC teams have always held first-class status depending on the quality of the opposition.
To mark the beginning of each English season, MCC plays the reigning County Champions. The origin of MCC was as a gentlemen's club that had flourished through most of the 18th century, including, at least in part, an existence as the original London Cricket Club, which had played at the Artillery Ground through the middle years of the century. Many of its members became involved with the Hambledon Club through the 1770s and in the early 1780s, had returned to the London area where the White Conduit Club had begun in Islington, it is not known for certain when the White Conduit was founded but it seems to have been after 1780 and by 1785. According to Pelham Warner, it was formed in 1782 as an offshoot from a West End convivial club called the Je-ne-sais-quoi, some of whose members frequented the White Conduit House in Islington and played matches on the neighbouring White Conduit Fields, a prominent venue for cricket in the 1720s. Arthur Haygarth said in Scores and Biographies that "the Marylebone Club was founded in 1787 from the White Conduit's members" but the date of the formation of the White Conduit "could not be found".
This gentlemen's club, multi-purpose, had a social meeting place at the Star and Garter on Pall Mall. It was the same club, responsible for drafting the Laws of Cricket at various times, most notably in 1744 and 1774, this lawgiving responsibility was soon to be vested in the MCC as the final repose of these cricketing gentlemen; when the White Conduit began, its leading lights were George Finch, 9th Earl of Winchilsea and the Hon. Colonel Charles Lennox, who became the 4th Duke of Richmond. White Conduit was nominally an exclusive club that only "gentlemen" might play for, but the club did employ professionals and one of these was the bowler Thomas Lord, a man, recognised for his business acumen as well as his bowling ability; the new club might have continued except that White Conduit Fields was an open area allowing members of the public, including the rowdier elements, to watch the matches and to voice their opinions on the play and the players. The White Conduit gentlemen were not amused by such interruptions and decided to look for a more private venue of their own.
Winchilsea and Lennox asked Lord to find a new ground and offered him a guarantee against any losses he may suffer in the venture. Lord took a lease from the Portman Estate on some land at Dorset Fields where Dorset Square is now sited, it was called the New Cricket Ground because it was off what was called "the New Road" in Marylebone, when the first known match was played there on 21 May but, by the end of July, it was known as Lord's. As it was in Marylebone, the White Conduit members who relocated to it soon decided to call themselves the "Mary-le-bone Club"; the exact date of MCC's foundation is lost but seems to have been sometime in the late spring or the summer of 1787. On 10 & 11 July 1837, a South v North match was staged at Lord's to commemorate the MCC's Golden Jubilee. Warner described it as "a Grand Match to celebrate the Jubilee of the Club" and reproduced the full scorecard. On Wednesday, 25 April 1787, the London Morning Herald newspaper carried a notice: "The Members of the Cricket Club are desired to meet at the Star and Garter, Pall Mall, on Mon.
April 30. Dinner on table at half past five o'clock. N. B; the favour of an answer is desired". The agenda is unknown but, only three weeks on Saturday, 19 May, the Morning Herald advertised: "A grand match will be played on Monday, 21 May in the New Cricket Ground, the New Road, Mary-le-bone, between eleven Noblemen of the White Conduit Club and eleven Gentlemen of the County of Middlesex with two men given, for 500 guineas a side; the wickets to be pitched at ten o'clock, the match to be played out". No post-match report has been found but, as G. B. Buckley said, it was "apparently the first match to be played on Lord's new ground". A total of eight matches are known to have been played at Lord's in 1787, one of them a single wicket event; the only one which featured the Mary-le-bone Club took place on 30 July. It was advertised in The World on Friday, 27 July 1787: "On Monday, 30 July will be played a match between 11 gentlemen of the Mary-le-bone Club and 11 gentlemen of the Islington Club".
Buckley stated that "this is the earliest notice of the Marylebone Club". As with the inaugural match at Lord's, no post-match report of the inaugural MCC match has been found. There have been three Lord's grounds: the original on the Portman Estate and two on the Eyre Estate
Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, PC was an English writer and politician. He served as a Whig MP from 1831 to 1841 and a Conservative MP from 1851 to 1866, he was Secretary of State for the Colonies from June 1858 to June 1859, when he selected Richard Clement Moody to be founder of British Columbia. He declined it, he became Baron Lytton of Knebworth in 1866. His son was the statesman Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton, who served as Governor-General of India and British Ambassador to France, wrote poetry under the pseudonym Owen Meredith. Bulwer-Lytton's literary works were popular, he coined the phrases "the great unwashed", "pursuit of the almighty dollar", "the pen is mightier than the sword", "dweller on the threshold". Came a sharp decline in his reputation, so that he is known today for little more than the opening line "It was a dark and stormy night", the first seven words of his novel Paul Clifford; the sardonic Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest attempts to find the "opening sentence of the worst of all possible novels".
Bulwer-Lytton was born on 25 May 1803 to General William Earle Bulwer of Heydon Hall and Wood Dalling and Elizabeth Barbara Lytton, daughter of Richard Warburton Lytton of Knebworth House, Hertfordshire. He had two older brothers, William Earle Lytton Bulwer and Henry Lord Dalling and Bulwer; when Edward was four, his father died and his mother moved to London. He was discontented at a number of boarding schools, but he was precocious and Mr. Wallington at Baling encouraged him to publish, at the age of fifteen, an immature work and Other Poems. In 1822 he entered Trinity College, where he met John Auldjo, but shortly afterwards moved to Trinity Hall. In 1825 he won the Chancellor's Gold Medal for English verse. In the following year he took his BA degree and printed, for private circulation, a small volume of poems and Wild Flowers, he sold it in 1829 without serving. In August 1827, he married Rosina Doyle Wheeler, a famous Irish beauty, but against his mother's wishes, who withdrew his allowance, so that he was forced to work for a living.
They had two children, Lady Emily Elizabeth Bulwer-Lytton, Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton who became Governor-General and Viceroy of British India. His writing and political work strained their marriage. Three years Rosina published Cheveley, or the Man of Honour, a near-libellous fiction bitterly satirising her husband's alleged hypocrisy. In June 1858, when her husband was standing as parliamentary candidate for Hertfordshire, she indignantly denounced him at the hustings, he retaliated by threatening her publishers, withholding her allowance, denying her access to the children. He had her committed to a mental asylum, but after a public outcry, she was released a few weeks later; this incident was chronicled in A Blighted Life. She continued her attacks upon her husband's character for several years; the death of Bulwer-Lytton's mother in 1843 saddened him. His own "exhaustion of toil and study had been completed by great anxiety and grief," and by "about the January of 1844, I was shattered".
In his mother's room at Knebworth House, Bulwer-Lytton "had inscribed above the mantelpiece a request that future generations preserve the room as his beloved mother had used it." It remains unchanged to this day. On 20 February 1844, in accordance with his mother's will, he changed his surname from'Bulwer' to'Bulwer-Lytton' and assumed the arms of Lytton by royal licence, his widowed mother had done the same in 1811. His brothers remained plain "Bulwer". By chance Bulwer-Lytton encountered a copy of "Captain Claridge's work on the "Water Cure", as practised by Priessnitz, at Graefenberg", "making allowances for certain exaggerations therein", pondered the option of travelling to Graefenberg, but preferred to find something closer to home, with access to his own doctors in case of failure: "I who scarcely lived through a day without leech or potion!". After reading a pamphlet by Doctor James Wilson, who operated a hydropathic establishment with James Manby Gully at Malvern, he stayed there for "some nine or ten weeks", after which he "continued the system some seven weeks longer under Doctor Weiss, at Petersham" again at "Doctor Schmidt's magnificent hydropathic establishment at Boppart", after developing a cold and fever upon his return home.
When King Otto of Greece abdicated in 1862, Bulwer-Lytton was offered the crown of Greece, which he declined. The English Rosicrucian society, founded in 1867 by Robert Wentworth Little, claimed Bulwer-Lytton as their'Grand Patron', but he wrote to the society complaining that he was'extremely surprised' by their use of the title, as he had'never sanctioned such'. A number of esoteric groups have continued to claim Bulwer-Lytton as their own, chiefly because some of his writings—such as the 1842 book Zanoni—have included Rosicrucian and other esoteric notions. According to the Fulham Football Club, he once resided in the original Craven Cottage, today the site of their stadium. Bulwer-Lytton had long suffered with a disease of the ear and for the last two or three years of his life he lived in Torquay nursing his health. Following an operation to cure deafness, an abscess formed in his burst.
Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted the additional title of Empress of India. Victoria was the daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of King George III. Both the Duke and the King died in 1820, Victoria was raised under close supervision by her mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, she inherited the throne at the age of 18, after her father's three elder brothers had all died, leaving no surviving legitimate children. The United Kingdom was an established constitutional monarchy, in which the sovereign held little direct political power. Victoria attempted to influence government policy and ministerial appointments. Victoria married her first cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840, their nine children married into royal and noble families across the continent, tying them together and earning her the sobriquet "the grandmother of Europe". After Albert's death in 1861, Victoria avoided public appearances.
As a result of her seclusion, republicanism temporarily gained strength, but in the latter half of her reign, her popularity recovered. Her Golden and Diamond Jubilees were times of public celebration, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors and is known as the Victorian era. It was a period of industrial, political and military change within the United Kingdom, was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire, she was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover. Her son and successor, Edward VII, initiated the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the line of his father. Victoria's father was Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of the reigning King of the United Kingdom, George III; until 1817, Edward's niece, Princess Charlotte of Wales, was the only legitimate grandchild of George III. Her death in 1817 precipitated a succession crisis that brought pressure on the Duke of Kent and his unmarried brothers to marry and have children.
In 1818 he married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, a widowed German princess with two children—Carl and Feodora —by her first marriage to the Prince of Leiningen. Her brother Leopold was Princess Charlotte's widower; the Duke and Duchess of Kent's only child, was born at 4.15 a.m. on 24 May 1819 at Kensington Palace in London. Victoria was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Charles Manners-Sutton, on 24 June 1819 in the Cupola Room at Kensington Palace, she was baptised Alexandrina after one of her godparents, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, Victoria, after her mother. Additional names proposed by her parents—Georgina and Augusta—were dropped on the instructions of Kent's eldest brother, the Prince Regent. At birth, Victoria was fifth in the line of succession after the four eldest sons of George III: George, the Prince Regent; the Prince Regent had no surviving children, the Duke of York had no children. The Duke of Clarence and the Duke of Kent married on the same day in 1818, but both of Clarence's legitimate daughters died as infants.
The first of these was Princess Charlotte, born and died on 27 March 1819, two months before Victoria was born. Victoria's father died in January 1820. A week her grandfather died and was succeeded by his eldest son as George IV. Victoria was third in line to the throne after York and Clarence. Clarence's second daughter was Princess Elizabeth of Clarence who lived for twelve weeks from 10 December 1820 to 4 March 1821 and, while Elizabeth lived, Victoria was fourth in line; the Duke of York died in 1827. When George IV died in 1830, he was succeeded by his next surviving brother, Clarence, as William IV, Victoria became heir presumptive; the Regency Act 1830 made special provision for Victoria's mother to act as regent in case William died while Victoria was still a minor. King William distrusted the Duchess's capacity to be regent, in 1836 he declared in her presence that he wanted to live until Victoria's 18th birthday, so that a regency could be avoided. Victoria described her childhood as "rather melancholy".
Her mother was protective, Victoria was raised isolated from other children under the so-called "Kensington System", an elaborate set of rules and protocols devised by the Duchess and her ambitious and domineering comptroller, Sir John Conroy, rumoured to be the Duchess's lover. The system prevented the princess from meeting people whom her mother and Conroy deemed undesirable, was designed to render her weak and dependent upon them; the Duchess avoided the court because she was scandalised by the presence of King William's illegitimate children. Victoria shared a bedroom with her mother every night, studied with private tutors to a regular timetable, spent her play-hours with her dolls and her King Charles Spaniel, Dash, her lessons included French, German and Latin, but she spoke only English at home. In 1830, the Duchess of Kent and Conroy took Victoria across the centre of England to visit the Malvern Hills, stopping at towns and great country houses along the way. Similar journeys to oth
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti